Deadly twin blasts target Pakistani candidate offices on eve of election

At least 28 people were killed Wednesday by two separate bomb blasts outside the offices of election candidates in southwestern Pakistan, on the eve of a national vote marred by violence and allegations of pre-poll rigging. The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the deadly bombings.

More than half a million security officers were deploying ahead of Thursday's election, with authorities distributing ballot papers to more than 90,000 polling stations.

There have been multiple security incidents in the run-up to the vote, with at least two candidates shot dead and dozens more targeted in attacks across the country.

IS group fighters "blew up a motorbike" rigged with explosives "at an election gathering" in Balochistan's Pishin district, the group said in a statement on the Telegram messaging app, and later claimed the second bombing.

"The aim of today's blasts was to sabotage the election," said Jan Achakzai, caretaker information minister for Balochistan province, where the blasts happened.

"Despite today's blasts, the election will take place tomorrow. People of Balochistan will come out tomorrow without any fear."

A first improvised explosive device (IED) blast killed 16 people near the office of an independent candidate in Pishin district, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the city of Quetta and 100 kilometres from the Afghan border.

A second IED killed 12 people near the election office of a candidate for the Islamist Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F) party in the city of Killa Saifullah – about 120 kilometres (75 miles) east – according to Achakzai.

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